It’s a new year (the school year) and new beginnings. BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) has begun on the journey of the life of Moses. God had told Abram before he even had a child, that his family would be numerous and that they would be mistreated as slaves in Egypt for 400 years. God promised a deliverer, and that was Moses. God fulfills all that He promises. In my life, through relationship challenges, postpartum and hormonal ups and downs, the tragic death of a beloved friend, a new ministry life, God has revealed Himself to me, He has taken care of ALL my needs, nourished my spirit, given me a calm assurance, peace, a knowledge of how he cherishes me, proven that he will never abandon me, proven true and faithful. As Moses’ character was refined and his faith grew, so has God been working in my life and continues to do so as my faith grows. What an adventure! When you live for Jesus, you never know what is ahead of you, but you do know who is with you, no matter what. In deepest despair, He grieves with you. In heights of joy, He celebrates with you. He is our Deliverer!

Deut 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.

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I am now studying the book of Matthew in BSF and the book of Job on my own. The last couple of weeks we’ve been teaching about prayer to the children. First I modeled the ACTS prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication) and then I told them about the hand of prayer for their requests to God. The thumb is closest to you, its where you start with praying for those who are closest to you. Then the pointing finger, when you pray for those who instruct you, teachers, pastors, missionaries etc. Then the tall finger, the leaders of our city, province and nation. Next the weakest finger, our ring finger, where we pray for those who are sick or in pain or going through a difficult time. Lastly, we have our pinkie, the smallest finger and that’s when we pray for ourselves!

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. The one who seeks finds. And to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Ask means depending on God. Seek means being determined to look for God’s answers. Knock means persistently praying – don’t give up!

God sees your heart. He holds the answers. Just knock on the door!

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No more guilt!

Sometimes we forget that when Jesus Christ took all our sins on the cross, he also took all our guilt. In the old testament, the high priest went into the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle once a year with the blood of a sacrificed animal to pay the penalty for all their sins. But Jesus gave himself, perfect, sinless as a sacrifice for all our sins so we don’t need to go year after year and bear the guilt of past sins. He has taken our guilt and shame on the cross. We no longer need to feel guilt. Psalm 103:12 says “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our sins from us”. We are free! So, when you start feeling guilty about a past mistake or failure, know that God has forgiven it and you are free from guilt. Claim His promise, capture that thought and throw it far, far away. Memorize scripture as above and say it aloud. We are in a battle, and we need to have the armour to fight it. Ephesians 6:10-18.Your whole body has been thoroughly cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Now, all you have to do is wash your feet every day. Start and/or finish off the day asking for forgiveness for your daily mess-ups and ask for renewal in his strength to face the next day to step by step be more like Jesus. Don’t look at your mistakes as failures, but rather as learning steps in following Jesus. We are all on the stairway together, each on different steps, and none of us arrive at the top until we get to heaven and are welcomed into Jesus’ arms. Even then, we will continue to learn and grow spiritually.

Luke 12:6 Are not 5 sparrows sold for 2 pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs on your head are numbered. Don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.

If you were going to war as a soldier, you would go through boot training camp and be physically and mentally trained and prepared. We are in the battle of life and need to be trained and prepared to face it. Saturate yourself with God’s Word, the Bible. When you read a passage ask yourself, “What is this about? How does that apply to me? What can I do to live it out?” Pray for God’s understanding of His scriptures. Live an abundant life in Christ, not a humdrum one. There is yet a higher height and a deeper depth to be explored to bring you even closer to Jesus Christ.

James 4:8 Come near to God and He will come near to you.

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Memory Challenge

I remember a few years back our youth pastor challenged us to memorize the book of Philippians in the Bible. I was rather adamant about the impossibility of this for my poor old brain. But God had another refining process for me, to develop my memory. Step by step I have memorized my lyrics and individual verses in the Bible. I am now ready to tackle more. My current challenge is to memorize 2 Timothy – 80 verses! I don’t know how long it will take me but I can only accomplish this task with the help of the Holy Spirit, repeating each verse 10 times a day, so far 3 at a time and then review and add 3 more and so on. I skip some days too which slows me down. I am finally finding out how true it is that hiding God’s Word in your heart is an amazing blessing in many ways. It is a comfort to me and to those I share the treasures with. These are words of wisdom, strength, purity, gentleness, kindness, humbleness, overcoming fears and anxiety and learning to trust in His power, not mine. I am also realizing that memorizing larger segments of scripture is really beneficial as the context is available in multiple verses and sometimes its better to quote two verses or three rather than one.

So, one step at a time and with the Holy Spirit’s help, my memory is progressing.

2 Timothy 1:3-7

3 Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.

5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

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Loving God

(1 Samuel 1 and 2) Hannah was a godly woman. She was also a persecuted one. The “other” wife, Peninnah had produced several children and Hannah none, and she wasn’t hearing the end of it. Elkanah, the husband, loved Hannah, which is probably why Peninnah was so hard on her, lording over her the ability to have children. I have to chuckle at Elkanah’s question “Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me – isn’t that better than having ten sons?” Sorry Elkanah, that just doesn’t wash. Love for a husband and for having your own babies is different and yet intertwined. One wants to have fruit of that beautiful relationship, to share in the creation and upbringing of the next generation.

Hannah turned to God in her desolation. She cried out in deep anguish to God. She vowed that she would give back her child to the Lord if He would only give her a son. God answered and gave her Samuel. She honored her vow and gave him back to God after she had weaned him, probably about 3 years of age. She left Samuel at the temple of God with Eli the priest.

Wow! Can you imagine giving up the child you’ve been longing for at about 3 years of age? It puts into perspective that our worship for God should supercede or outweigh all our other commitments of love.

Luke 10:27 You must Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, ALL your strength, ALL your mind

Again, Abraham was tested and was proven faithful when God told him to sacrifice his son whom he dearly loved. In faith, he believed God would raise Isaac from death as, in a sense, he did.

True faith grows to higher heights and to deeper depths when, each time we are tested, we learn to trust him that much more. Sometimes we fail the test, but even in our failure we learn and grow – think about Simon Peter when he stepped out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the water. Did his failure to keep his eyes on Jesus make him give up hope? No, not at all. He continued on, learning and growing until with the Holy Spirit’s power, he was bold and faithful in front of thousands to preach and witness of the gospel, the salvation that comes only through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Ephesians 5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Easter is coming… I’d like to write an Easter song but I really want it to have the depth and meaning that it deserves, so I’m praying in preparation. Although it is my goal to write this song, my timeline is flexible, it could be this Easter, it could be next or thereafter depending on the outcome of my attempts. Some songs come quickly and even editing and finishing can go smoothly, others take years in whittling away, refining until it is a fragrant offering to our Holy God. In any case, I have a goal, one of many.

Right now, I’d like to lose 10 lbs from my enjoying comfort food during the winter “blues” and the colder weather. Today I was enjoying pumpernickel bread with light havarti cheese and a very thin slice of spicy Hungarian Salami – a nostalgic trek down memory lane to my childhood years. How tastes and aromas bring back memories, don’t they?

Another goal I have is to improve my piano playing skills. I have been taking lessons since September last year and am very encouraged to see my improvement, although I don’t think I will ever be a master pianist!

Today, as I read the passage from Ephesians I was thinking that in order to imitate Christ I need to know Him extremely well which led to another goal. The goal of my lifetime – to know Jesus SOOOOOO well that my Bible will be worn and old looking, that I will be able to direct anyone to anywhere in the Bible knowing the content, that I will be able to quote verses in any situation that arises to give encouragement. My daughter once interviewed a hare krishna woman and came back impressed with how on fire she was about her faith – wondering why so many christians are quiet about theirs. So my goal is that others will come away from a conversation with me impacted with the vibrancy of my faith in Jesus Christ and want to learn more about it and even share in it.

What is your goal/s? Are you “on fire” for Jesus? Do you know, in our culture today, some people don’t mind so much when you talk about God, but they start looking at you funny when you say “Jesus”. There is power in the name of Jesus and we need to be bold in witnessing of His amazing sacrifice on the cross in order to rescue us from eternal separation from our Creator God. I’ve written a song about the power of Jesus’ name, and it gives me peace and comfort to say His name aloud, and it gives Him glory to share it with others. :)

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Bible Study

I love to go to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). This is my 8th year and I have never encountered a better bible study which trains you to study God’s Word and apply it to your life. This year I am teaching the children and thoroughly enjoying the challenge and building relationships with the 4 and 5 year olds. What a blessing!

My songwriting is thoroughly influenced by my study in the bible and right now we are going through Acts of the Apostles. Therefore the song I am working on right now is about Jesus Christ, being the fulfillment of all the prophecies throughout the Bible, the Savior of the world and about the Holy Spirit whom God gave us after Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after his resurrection.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will help me to be as bold as Peter and the rest of the disciples were after the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost.  In unity, the disciples stood as Peter addressed the crowd. “Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. ” By Jesus’ sacrifice we are saved. All we need to do is believe in Him, repent of our sins, turn away from our old ways and turn to Him. There is no greater love than His.

Psalm 145 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your might acts.

Look up this passage and read the whole chapter! :)

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Security in Christ

Courage grows through faith in God. In the Bible, David dared to face Goliath in spite of his brother’s lack of faith in his ability to do so. Do you face a challenge and say “Yes, I can do this with God’s help”? When discouraging thoughts quickly follow making you feel insecure, do you listen and bail out? Or do you capture those thoughts and throw them overboard, and press on for Christ? This is the spiritual battle. Welcome to my world. I started singing and performing when I was in my teen years and I would forget lyrics in the middle of a song. I would be devastated! Yet, somehow after a period of “I’m never doing this again”, God would prompt me and I would once again attempt to climb this mountain. After I started leading worship singing at church regularly, I really grew to feel at home in front of a congregation, sharing in worshipping the Great “I Am”  together. My nervousness in performing solo still was overwhelming though. It was only after I began writing songs with God’s help that I was able to have a different perspective. Each song I write is written with lots of prayer and consultation with my Lord and I sing these songs for Him and for His glory. So now, when I share these songs, I’m not worrying about people’s reactions, I leave that in God’s hands and simply obey Him by sharing His message to everyone. I won’t say that I am not at all nervous but I am definitely not incapacitated by it and am enjoying sharing and singing with those who come and listen. Through my walk of faith, Jesus has helped me to conquer the fear and insecurities, and continues to help me capture discouraging thoughts and throw them overboard.

Rom 8:33-35, 37-39 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Set your mind and heart and on Jesus Christ and press on for Him! Learn from your mistakes and lean on His strength. He will be with you.

Ps 37:3-6 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light.

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He will be with you wherever you go!

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Sometimes it’s not even going very far… into your own community can sometimes be harder than going to far off shores when what you love most has the unspoken veto in conversation. Yet, how can one keep quiet about the greatest love of your life? “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” John 15:13 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

Over and over again in God’s Word, he tells us how he will be with us, watch over us, walk beside us. How he longs and waits for us to follow Him, our Creator. How he knew us before we were even a sparkle in our mother’s eyes (Ps 139). How he has numbered every hair on our head (Luke 12:7) Not one of the sparrows are forgotten and we are worth so much more than many sparrows to him. God says “For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” Is 41:13

Oh, how he loves you and me! Will I share His love as He has shared His love for me? Yes, I will :)

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Patience and Trust

Why does training in patience and trust seem to be a recurring theme in my life? I thought I had left lots of time in between the actual recording of the CD and the concerts. Yet, I had one after another graphic artist turn me down, lack of time or they were too expensive. Each new request took at least a week and a whole month was whittled away! I was praying a lot about it, trying not to worry, reminding myself “It’s in His Hands” and one day as I was looking at my photographer’s quote for the photo shoot I realized it said “graphic art” work as part of her work and a light bulb went on! Maybe she could do all the graphic art that was required on the CD cover. Lo and behold when I emailed her, she was happy to take on the project. My husband and I took on the text part of it and together we came up with the finished product. It still took longer than I expected, probably because I had no idea what to expect, but when it went to the replication company time was getting short. They had a few edits we need to do and now the CD’s are actually getting replicated, put together, wrapped up tight and put into boxes. The pick-up date is the very last day of this month, two days before our first event. So, can I trust God? YES! He is faithful, even in the small things. His timing may not always be my timing but its the right timing. It’s “IN HIS HANDS” so we just have to trust God, let go and let Him take charge of everything.

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